If you are concerned about the effects of greenhouse gases on the environment, you may find new data from the EPA very interesting.
For the first time, greenhouse gas emissions data is available to the public in a format that is easy to understand.
Through a new EPA reporting program, you can see who the biggest offenders are in your part of the country.
This report provides information on nine industry groups all over the US that reported their emissions in 2010, under mandatory EPA reporting laws.
Industries include power plants, refineries, chemical manufacturing, landfills, metals manufacturing, mineral production, pulp and paper, government and commercial and other industrial facilities.
Data is reported to the EPA directly from each facility in response to the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule issued by the EPA in 2009. The reports include facilities that produce 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year as well as suppliers of fossil fuels and industrial gases.
Additional industries that will be required to report in 2011 include electronics manufacturing, fluorinated gas, magnesium production, petroleum and natural gas, electric transmission and disbursement systems, underground coal mines, industrial wastewater treatment, industrial waste landfills, geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, underground injection of carbon dioxide, and imports and exports of equipment pre-charged with fluorinated greenhouse gases or containing fluorinated greenhouse gases in closed-cell foams. (1)
Using the Data
The hope in collecting this data is that communities will use it to identify local sources of greenhouse gases and that businesses will track this information.
In doing so, communities and businesses can develop ways of reducing emissions.
According to Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation:
“The GHG Reporting Program data provides a critical tool for businesses and other innovators to find cost- and fuel-saving efficiencies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and foster technologies to protect public health and the environment.” (2)
In fact, certain industries can get support from the EPA to assist them in reducing their overall emissions via partnership programs. (3)
Highlights of the Greenhouse Gases Data
The report shows that, overall, power plants were the largest source of emissions, with 2324 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
Second place goes to petroleum refineries, with 183 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
CO2 accounts for 95% of direct greenhouse gas emissions. Methane accounts for 4% and nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases account for only 1%.
If you are curious about who the biggest offenders are in your neck of the woods, you can find out easily enough.
The EPA has a handy tool that allows you to input your state. (4) Then, it generates a map that includes each facility, its location, the metric tons of CO2 emitted in 2010 and more.
You can also generate graphs that help you see the data more clearly, if you prefer.
The Benefits of the Reporting Tool
While this may seem like lots of information that you, personally, can’t do anything about, it is actually very empowering.
Regular people, armed with information, can create change to improve the world they live in. When the public has access to information on the practices of big business, they can provide the necessary pressure for those businesses to change.
You are now better informed. What will you do with that information?
(1) Greenhouse Gas Data FAQs
(2) 2010 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data from Large Facilities Now Available / First release of data through the national GHG reporting program –
(3) Partnership Programs
(4) GHG Data Tool
(5) Meriol Lehmann via Compfight cc